Clarification on the potential undergraduate international student fee increase
In response to recent student outrage over the university’s proposed tuition hikes for certain incoming international students, Concordia’s president Alan Shepard and university’s spokesperson Chris Mota spoke to The Concordian to explain the administration’s side of the story.
Students became concerned when the Concordia Student Union (CSU) made a post on their website about the university’s proposal to increase international students’ tuition and implement a cohort pricing system. The increases would apply to international undergraduate students in deregulated programs, which include engineering, computer science, business, mathematics and pure sciences.
Mota said the proposed increase would only affect incoming students in deregulated programs as of the 2017 fall semester-not current students. Cohort pricing is described as the model that will prohibit students already enrolled from facing a tuition hike, while if hikes are decided upon it will only apply to new students, said Mota.
“Cohort pricing is a guarantee for incoming students who are coming to Concordia for a three or four year program that their tuition won’t rise for that period,” Mota explained to The Concordian.
She said deregulated programs do not receive funding from the government. As a result of the deregulation of these programs, Concordia has less funding available and is now looking into cohort pricing for these new students, Mota said. “The government gave us [permission] to charge whatever we wanted,” she said. “Concordia did nothing for one year, while other universities immediately started to raise their rates.”
Mota said the tuition increase would only come into effect if the Concordia Finance Committee finds that the proposal has merit. If the committee approves the proposal, it will then be sent to the Board of Governors, who will make the final decision.
“We haven’t decided what the tuition fees will be,” said Concordia president Alan Shepard. “It’s a matter before the Board of Governors.”
“As far as we know, they plan to approve this tuition increase without any prior student consultation, nor even sharing the proposal with the Concordia community before its approval,” said Aloyse Muller, the external affairs and mobilization coordinator for the CSU.
However, Mota said there will be student input. “Once a proposal is brought to the board all members of the board, student governors included, will vote on the proposal,” said Mota.
“Historically, we’ve been setting the tuition to be exactly identical to the tuition rise prescribed by the Quebec government for Quebec residents and the rest of canadian students, which is still regulated by the government,” said Shepard.
Shepard said for international undergraduates in deregulated programs the university receives zero dollars towards their education.
Samuel Miriello, a first-year human resource management student said there is a lack of transparency from the university and he is planning to meet with administration next week. “The nature of our anger comes from the fact that the university needs to always consult the CSU and the [Graduate Student Association] before doing things like this,” he said.
Miriello is part of the Red Day team, which is composed of students who want to raise awareness about the potential hike they have created a Facebook page and are asking students to wear the colour red on Nov. 24 to show their support for international students.
Mota said surveys and research conducted by the university and by international recruiters showed that incoming international students would prefer to pay more for tuition—if for the duration of their program they wouldn’t see an increase.
“What I really regret it that it’s being played out in the press like we’re debating international tuition in the press before the governors can hear arguments for or against and make their decision,” said Shepard.
The vote will take place at the Board of Governor’s meet on at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16. Interested viewers can watch in the observer’s room in 633-1 of the Hall building.
With files from Gregory Todaro